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Lake Information for Old Hickory Lake


Old Hickory Lake is a man-made lake in north central Tennessee. It is formed by the Old Hickory Lock and Dam, located on the Cumberland River at mile 216.2 in Sumner and Davidson Counties, approximately 25 miles (40 km) upstream from Nashville. The city of Hendersonville is situated on the northern shoreline of the lake, and the city of Old Hickory is located on the southern side of the lake, just upstream of the lock and dam. The lake extends 97.3 miles (156.6 km) upstream to Cordell Hull Lock and Dam, near Carthage, Tennessee. The dam and lake are named after President Andrew Jackson (nicknamed "Old Hickory"), who lived in the vicinity, at The Hermitage.

Because of the temperate climate and relatively long recreation season, visitors have numerous activities to choose from including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, picnicking, boating, and water skiing. The numerous species of wildlife here, including abundant populations of waterfowl and wading birds, make nature study and photography additional exciting pastimes.

Facilities and Parks: 

Bank fishing areas with accessible fishing piers exist at Rockland, Sanders Ferry, Shutes Branch, and Bledsoe Creek State Park. These piers can be accessed from parking areas via paved paths. Fish attractors are maintained in close proximity to these structures.

Fishing Description: 

The three black bass species (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted) provide the most popular fishery in Old Hickory Lake accounting for 45 percent of angling effort. Five fish in any species combination may be harvested per person per day. There is a 14 inch minimum size limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Fish for bass in close proximity to submerged cover and fish attractor sites.

The striped and white bass fishery is the second most popular in Old Hickory Reservoir accounting for 20 percent of angling effort. A trophy striped bass fishery exists providing an excellent opportunity to catch fish exceeding 30 pounds. Fish with large live baits (gizzard shad and skipjack herring) or artificial lures in the cooler riverine habitat upstream of Highway 231 during the spring, summer and fall. Large striped bass concentrate in the Cordell Hull tailwater during the spring months. Fish the Gallatin Steam Plant discharge area during the winter months. This area provides warmer water, which attracts baitfish and striped bass.

Sauger are another popular sport fishery in Old Hickory Lake accounting for 10 percent of the angling effort. The minimum length limit is 15 inches and daily creel limit is ten per person per day. Fish on the bottom with lead head jigs tipped with threadfin shad or large minnows. Also try fishing the mouths of creeks and the main river channel in the upper half of the reservoir near the Cordell Hull Dam tailrace. Best sauger fishing occurs from January through April.

A fair crappie fishery exists primarily in the warmer embayments and creeks. This fishery accounts for 10 percent of the angling effort. The minimum length limit is 10 inches and daily creel limit is 30 per person. Fish in close proximity to structure such as fish attractor sites, and cover provided by wood such as fallen trees or stumps. White crappie is the predominant crappie species in Old Hickory Lake.

Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
Striped Bass
White Bass
Optional Information
Surface area: 
Old Hickory Lake
Lake type: 

Businesses Located Nearby

Boat Rental

Vacation Rental

Bar and Restaurant

    Rafferty's Restaurant & Bar
  • 2010 Gallatin Rd - Madison, TN
  • (615) 855-6875
    Zen's Restaurant Bar & Grill
  • 271 Gleaves St - Madison, TN
  • (615) 865-0023

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